Sermon: Lift Up Your Hearts

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Delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

Anthony Keller

Fifth Sunday of Easter
Psalm 23
Acts 2:42-47
John 21:1-17

 

I loved my grandparents, but I especially adored my grandmother. When I was a child, they would pick me up at my home in Covina, and take me to their place in Arcadia for the weekend. I would sleep in this huge over stuffed bed, and wake up with the shade of a large walnut tree keeping the sun at bay, and then I would smell the aroma of the morning, the house filled with the smell of breakfast, you know that wonderful feel good scent; the smell of bacon gently wafting through a house, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee added to the ambiance.

I have a vivid memory of my grandmother suddenly deciding to give me lessons on the proper way to shake someone’s hand. Yeah, I know, it’s a strange thing to remember, but there I was in the living room receiving instructions. Years later, at some social function, someone asked me if I was born in Europe. I said that was born in Cleveland, but the person said to me that I shook hands like I was raised on the Continent of Europe. This made sense….my grandmother was from Austria. To this day, when I’m being formal, I still present myself in this manner, it’s totally ingrained.

If you listened carefully to these short stories taken from my childhood, you might have a good sense of some of the themes presented into today’s Gospel reading, but I was a bit vague on purpose so let’s explore them together. Read More

The Eye of the Storm

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Gene Robinson Book CoverTheologian Huston Smith wrote in his book, The Soul of Christianity, that possibly, the essence of God might be found in information. Of course, we mere mortals, can not assimilate the vast amounts of information we are bombarded with, so maybe one of the greatest tools we might have to gain is balanced discernment.

With this in mind, I offer a link to NPR which contains an interview with V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire as he discusses the up and coming Lambeth Conference, and his new book, The Eye of the Storm.

Banned from GCN!

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My Gay Christian Network Picture trova donne vicino a te CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER “JUSTIN-ITE”

“Traditions by their nature require change, since there can be no tradition without interpretation. And interpretation is the constant adjustment that is required if the current community is to stay in continuity with tradition. (A Community of Character, Stanley Hauerwas p.61)

About three years ago, I stumbled upon GCN (Gay Christian Network) so I thought I’d give it a try. As time wore on I soon discovered, the site was reminiscent of what was known though out many places in Southern California, before the net became accessible as a “Bulletin Board System.” The SYSOP (a BBS term for System Operator) is named Justin, and since people seem to hang on every word of their leader (with a scary dose bordering idol worship). In search of a biblical term I call them “Justinites.” Having been active, in BBS’s as they were once called, both as a moderator, and co-syop myself, I know how message boards can turn into a sub-culture in and of themselves, turning the reality of daily living into a morph between reality mixed with a fair dose of fantasy (in this day and age, I suppose the term is called virtual reality.) I soon realized that this virtual reality message board was more a networking ministry than an on going discovery of how to meld ones God given authenticity as a GLBT person, with the stark realities of faith. I found GCN a harbor for wounded, confused, and disenfranchised “evangelicals” more than an on going conversation revolving around the goodness found in each person’s narrative.

I was struck by a vast majority of its members who seemed trapped by a narrow view of Christianity. Maybe this was a faith presented during their youth but I rarely read about a God of love, a God of peace, a Jesus who walks the walk, a Jesus who says, “Come to me just as you are”. I, for the most part, read about a God of Power, a God of the Law, a God of Wrath and of Judgment. Read More


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